CHASKA, Minn. — Thousands of polos, golf towels and Ryder Cup ball markers sit inside the enormous merchandise tent on the grounds of Hazeltine National. But among the biggest attractions near that area are the two giant posters on the north wall outside of the tent.
That’s where fans can pay homage to one of the greats, The King, Arnold Palmer, who died on Sunday at age 87.
Two posters roughly 12 feet by 12 feet dominate the wall. One shows a young Palmer following through with his swing; the other shows him reading a putt. The left poster says “IN MEMORY, 1929-2016.” Both prominently display Palmer’s trademark signature, and underneath it reads: “Please Pay Tribute to Mr. Palmer.”
On Wednesday afternoon, the area near the posters was swarming with spectators signing the posters and writing messages to their idol. Cellphones were raised to snap pictures, and fans walking by couldn’t help but be drawn in. Different colored Sharpies and pens were passed around as fans scribbled wherever white space was available. The PGA of America put up the posters to give fans a way to interact with the legend. More Palmer tributes will be rolled out this week.
Just hours after the posters went live they began to resemble the back page of a high school girl’s yearbook, only with fewer hearts and phone numbers. It’s yet another symbol of how much Arnie meant to the golf world.
Here are a few of the messages to one of golf’s all-time greats.
“I love you, Arnie! I’m sorry my dad spilled beer on you!” — Sally H.
“You are the one true King. RIP.” — Roger
“I always wanted to meet The King. Maybe someday.” — Ryan
“Rest in peace. I hope your golf game is good in heaven. XOXO.” — Taylor
“Good bless you and your contributions to this great sport.” — Crystal
“Thanks for the memories, Arnie.” — Vickie
“What a great golf legacy in so many ways!” — Tim
“Long live The King.” — Josh Berhow